Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (third from left) celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates. (Reuters)
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Liverpool moved ten points clear at the top of the Premier League after beating Watford 2-0 on Saturday, while second-placed Leicester City were held 1-1 at home by struggling Norwich City, ending the Foxes’ club record eight-match winning run.
Chelsea’s poor domestic form continued with a shock 1-0 home defeat by lowly Bournemouth, while Sheffield United moved up to fifth with a 2-0 win over fellow promoted side Aston Villa.
West Ham United striker Sebastien Haller earned his side a 1-0 win at Southampton in the late game to ease them away from the relegation zone and leave Southampton in the bottom three.
With third-placed Manchester City 17 points behind Liverpool ahead of their trip to Arsenal on Sunday, Juergen Klopp’s side are in a commanding position heading into a busy holiday period.
Liverpool have 49 points with Leicester on 39, Manchester City 32, Chelsea 29 and Sheffield United 25.
The leaders had Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah to thank for their latest victory. He curled the ball home right-footed in the 38th minute after a characteristic Liverpool counter-attack.
Sadio Mane thought that he had doubled the lead five minutes after the break but the VAR review showed he was marginally offside when nodding the ball in from Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross.
Liverpool had to wait until stoppage time to make sure of the victory thanks to Salah’s superb back-heeled flick.
Watford, with new manager Nigel Pearson in charge for the first time, are rooted to the bottom of the league with just one league win in this campaign and were left to rue wasted chances, particularly a glaring second-half miss from Ismaila Sarr.
It was far from classic Liverpool, but Klopp was pleased with the way his team ground out the win.
“That’s how it is. At 1-0, that’s the result you never can rely on that the game is decided. No problem with that. In December and January especially, you need to show resilience – that’s the most important thing,” said the German. (Reuters)